Doing hard things

This talk is a reflection and an analysis of Thomas last three years working in India, Europe and the Americas as well as co-leading IxDA’s Interaction Design Awards, studying hundreds of design projects and engaging with an incredible divers set of protagonists of our profession.  As much as this is going to be a reflection on the various stories and anecdotes that happened from the monsoon filled streets of downtown Mumbai to shaking sky scrapers in Santiago de Chile, this talk seeks as well to provide an analysis of the challenges we face as interaction designers encountering the upcoming reality of really hard problems.

He'd like to share his experiences and conclusions about what it takes to engage in hard tasks, to design for the billions, for life-critical systems and with a pace that sometimes can be overwhelming. 

Transformed back into the everyday life of our profession he will argue why the difficult times ahead demand for more than simple try and error methods and why we as designers have the duty to not let our work get into the profanity of self-repetition. The biggest part of our brightest design minds are still mainly concerned with optimizing solutions for very small problems with very low impact, whereas we seem to be scared or set up incorrectly to tackle the hard things, the hard problems.

We asked for this seat at the board room table for years, now let’s make sure we are equipped with the right tools to take over this responsibility. 

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Thomas Kueber is obsessed with humanizing technology ever since he has got his hands on his first C64 during the 1980s. Having started his career within HCI research at Fraunhofer institute over 10 years ago, He has worked his way up and down the design industry in Europe, Asia and the United States. Today he lives and works in Berlin, leading Designit’s digital domain in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 


During daylight he focuses on helping large-scale organizations embedding successful design strategies that enable not only economic growth but generate genuine value for real people. When the office lights go out he is co-leading Berlin‘s interaction design community IxDA Berlin, occasionally crafts cocktails for my Indian supper club or simply enjoys a dark-brew coffee and bass-heavy music in my tiny backyard-garden.